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In-depth features and interviews, and photo essays   
Long Reads - South China Morning Post
  1. Many years ago, as a child, Stephen Au Kam-tong encountered a woman called Old Mary. On a recent afternoon in his studio in Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon, the actor, writer and director describes their subsequent relationship. A few polystyrene rocks are scattered on the floor in front of us; he has been rehearsing his forthcoming production, The Ten Commandments, in which he will play Moses. It is a suitable backdrop for the genesis of another righteous story.“You know, more than four decades ago, I…
  2. Huang Jiaxue, a business­man in Wenzhou, in eastern China, was thrilled when he got his Tesla Model 3 late last year. The car was good-looking, environmentally friendly and even domestically built, having rolled off the line at California-based Tesla’s vast factory in Shanghai. But in May he sold it, recouping only about 75 per cent of the 249,900 yuan (US$38,530) he paid.“It’s out of safety concerns,” Huang said, citing reports on Chinese social media, vigorously disputed by Tesla, of the…
  3. “The Mekong massacre,” says journalist Jeff Howe, “was one of the largest killings of Chinese nationals outside China since World War II.”And it was this slaying of 13 sailors aboard two cargo vessels on the morning of October 5, 2011, that reawakened the world to a notoriously criminal region, the Golden Triangle, and brought into public view Myanmar’s elusive freshwater pirate, Naw Kham.Referred to as “a narco-state”, the area covers roughly 950,000 sq km (370,000 square miles) that…
  4. What is the perfect summer entertainment when summer falls – again – in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic? One option is to reach, as many of us have, for the most escapist stories imaginable, anything without illness, plagues, quarantines, vaccination or home-schooling. Then again, more than a few of us went the other way – Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011) was one of the most streamed films of 2020.Bearing these extremes in mind, here are a variety of recent books, in…
  5. By the 1850s, the opium wars had devastated China and brought the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) to the verge of collapse, while far to the south a gold rush had led to a period of unprecedented economic growth. Setting out towards a faraway fortune, nearly 40,000 Chinese men left home for “Xin Jin Shan”, or New Gold Mountain, also known as Australia.Highland towns such as Bendigo and Ballarat were full of new arrivals. Chinese immigrants proved highly adaptable in the booming state of Victoria,…
  6. Felicity Somers Eve was unaware of her great-grandfather’s achievements until she found a cardboard box in a damp corner of the loft at her mother’s house in 2009. And so from West Sussex, England, thanks to hundreds of objects, photographs, letters, technical drawings and other documents, she pieced together the work of David Marr Henderson and his colourful life, with much of his adulthood spent in China.Marr Henderson was a controversial, uncompromising civil engineer who worked for the…
  7. Ever since President Xi Jinping pitched the idea of a “global energy internet” to the United Nations six years ago, China has been trying to persuade the world to build the high-voltage highways that would form its backbone. That plan to wrap the planet in a web of intercontinental, made-in-Beijing power lines has gone pretty much nowhere. Yet the fortunes of so-called supergrids appear to be turning, if not on quite the spectacular, Bond-villain scale Xi first envisaged.China has both a…
  8. Ella had always planned to start a family. But after nearly a decade of regular Thursday-night dates in Hong Kong, the 35-year-old was exhausted. As 2013 dragged on, she accepted that the right man might not arrive in the coming year, which was how long doctors had predicted her fertility would last. So she decided to freeze her eggs, with the intention of using a sperm donor to fertilise them when the time was right. She was excited, she recalls – “I felt like I was securing my future.” She…
  9. On October 19, 1945, 13 men gathered in London for a secret meeting. It was chaired by Courtenay Denis Carew Robinson, a senior British Home Office official, and he was joined by representatives of the Foreign Office, the Ministry of War Transport, and the police and immigration inspectorate of the city of Liverpool in northwest England.After the meeting, the Home Office’s aliens department opened a new file, designated HO/213/926. Its contents were not to be discussed in Parliament, or with…
  10. On June 8, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor warned the city’s universities not to let their students be “easily indoctrinated” after being “penetrated by foreign forces” bent on “brainwashing”; forces who either “want to undermine the Chinese government, or have ideological prejudices against China”, expressing that she had “no doubt” that “ulterior motives” were at play, confirming her belief that “these external forces are at work”.Which external forces were these exactly?…